After suicide, teen’s eye donation is rejected because he was gay

Iowa teen's final wish was not fully fulfilled as a decades-old policy stopped someone from using an organ he no longer needed

After suicide, teen’s eye donation is rejected because he was gay
14 August 2014

It has been little over a year ago since a 16-year-old gay teen committed suicide.

Months before his death, Iowa teen AJ Betts volunteered to become an organ donor.

But his mother is furious after the deceased teen’s eye has been rejected because of his sexual orientation.

A Food and Drug Administration policy, which prohibits men who have sex with men from donating tissue, barred Betts from fulfilling one of his final wishes.

Sheryl Moore, his mother, received a letter detailing what had become of her son’s tissue.

While his liver, lungs, kidneys and heart had been accepted, his eye had been rejected. She was unable to confirm whether her son had had sex within the last five years.

‘My initial feeling was just very angry because I couldn’t understand why my 16-year-old son’s eyes couldn’t be donated just because he was gay,’ Moore told KCCI.

‘This is archaic, and it is just silly that people wouldn’t get the lifesaving assistance they need because of regulations that are 30 years old.’

But for the grieving mother, she was thankful that her son’s donation had saved another boy’s life.

She said: ‘I was very happy to hear that a 14-year-old boy got his heart. He would have really liked that.’

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